City says ice surfaces on lakes and ponds not safe in Lethbridge
Double-digit temperatures have been a common theme this winter in southern Alberta.
For Kevin Petersen and his two-year-old daughter Blayke, it’s a welcome change.
“Other than the wind, it’s been fantastic,” he says.
Petersen and his daughter are regulars to the playground in Lethbridge’s Riverstone Park. The above-average temperatures make playing a bit more fun, but with that comes additional concern over unsafe ice surfaces.
“It doesn’t look very safe and thick,” Petersen says. “I actually said it to her [Blayke] this morning: ‘We should go skating on there when it gets colder, but not right now.'”
The city has posted warnings to keep people away from the unsafe water.
“[When talking about] ice conditions in Lethbridge, [there is] lots of open water so we aren’t even testing,” says Kevin Jensen, parks operations manager with the City of Lethbridge. “So we are telling people, ‘Please, stay off the ice.'”
The city usually rates ices surfaces and posts results online. Last year, the weather was so cold and snowy, city crews were kept too busy to give a rating. This year, conditions are just too warm.
“We try to do one [rating] in each section of town: one north, one west and one south,” Jensen adds. “We are here at Henderson, we have an area at Nicholas Sheran and we have an area on the north side which is the new Legacy Park.”
The city has spotted some people out on storm ponds and said the ponds can be extremely dangerous with salt mixed in and the water constantly moving.
“The levels change dramatically, the temperatures fluctuate in the water and the ice doesn’t freeze regularly, so it can be a metre thick in one area and a couple metres away, it could be six-inches thick, so not safe,” Jensen says. “So please stay off the storm ponds.”
Jensen says it’s best to leave the ice ratings to the experts and abide by the city’s decision on what’s safe and what’s not.
“You can’t tell how thick it is by looking at it, there is different ice-level qualities as well, so you have to know a lot about it before you should really venture out on it.”
With above-average temperatures expected for the rest of the month, it’s best to stick to the city’s indoor ice surfaces.
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